STAR Announces New Pilot Program to Welcome Interfaith Families 'Call Synagogue Home' Recruits Eighteen Synagogues in Three Communities to Participate in Newest Initiative

    NEW YORK, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Call Synagogue Home, the newest initiative of STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal), is providing eighteen participating synagogues with the resources, training and programming to help create a warm and welcoming environment for interfaith families in order to increase their participation in their community synagogue.     Research on the Jewish community reveals that many interfaith families do not feel welcome in synagogues. Call Synagogue Home's pilot program will provide participating synagogues with tools and communications to reach out to interfaith families during key life-cycle events and ritual celebrations, including beginning a Jewish pre-school or religious school, brit milah and baby namings, divorce and death.     "Most people are more receptive to synagogue involvement during these life-cycle events," said Rabbi Hayim Herring, STAR executive director. "These potential entry points are emotionally charged under any circumstance and carry extra voltage for interfaith couples and families. When handled lovingly, these moments can help people form positive life-long bonds with a synagogue community."     STAR provides research, education, innovative programming and capacity-building skills that help synagogues respond to compelling questions facing American Jewry. With funding from The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, STAR has partnered with the Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI), a recognized leader in the field of helping Jewish institutions become more welcoming to interfaith families, to develop and deliver Call Synagogue Home. The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, a founding partner in STAR, is committed to encouraging Jewish communities to become open and inclusive.     In the coming months, STAR will schedule Call Synagogue Home presentations in three locations with significant numbers of Synaplex(TM) synagogues, a network of more than 150 participating synagogues who offer community-building programming that is relevant, inspirational and significant to modern Jews. STAR will recruit extensively, but not exclusively, from its Synaplex network. The goal is to have 18 synagogues in the three communities participating in the pilot.     About STAR     Founded in 1999, STAR fosters innovation among synagogues in reaching out to all kinds of Jews. Focusing on practical research, STAR explores such varied topics as the role of technology in synagogue life; creative, spiritual, cultural and educational programming in today's synagogues; and continuing education for rabbis. More information about STAR can be found at www.starsynagogue.org     About The Samuel Bronfman Foundation     The Samuel Bronfman Foundation (TSBF) focuses on projects dedicated to fostering a Jewish renaissance. TSBF is an active supporter of the Hillel: The Foundation for Campus Jewish Life, The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel, The Curriculum Initiative, and MyJewishLearning.com. More information about TSBF can be found at www.thesbf.org  

SOURCE The Samuel Bronfman Foundation

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